AHome of Sorts
In a desolate street, almost on the outskirts of the capital, is an enormous iron gate bent but solid with Nari Niketan written across it in bold letters. The gate is almost always chained shut with a massive Godrej lock. The only entrance or exit is through a small opening on one side of the gate which is used exclusively by the wardens and cleaners and this imprisons behind it over 100 destitute woman.
The institute is run by the government. It dates back to 1950 when it was started by Shri Moti Rameshwari for the benefit of all unwanted women. “Unmarried mothers, widows, women in moral danger are all here,” said Mrs Shanta Ratna, superintendent of Nari Niketan. But she contradicted herself immediately when she added that the institute only sheltered those girls brought in by the police.
Of these girls more than 75 per cent are those who have been rescued during raids on red light areas. Mallika ( not her real name), 25, is one such example. She had reportedly eloped from Madras with a man who promised to marry her. But the man sold her to a ‘ nautch house’ in G. B. Road.
ONE WOMAN’S INITIATIVE